Coming to Europe is a dream for many Australians. The continent is overflowing with sights, culture and nightlife. We can’t get enough of the gorgeous old cities that are only a short train ride apart. But, unfortunately, Europe is lagging behind on one very important thing: coffee.
Australians are notoriously snobby about their coffee. Our obsession really grew on the wave of European café culture that was brought to our shores by the influx of European immigrants following World War II. Although the Italians invented the espresso machine, most Australians would claim it as a national treasure.
To give you an idea of just how much we love coffee, have a look at these statistics.
- The average Australian drink 9 cups a week;
- The most popular drink, the cappuccino, is ordered 50,000 times every 30 minutes during daylight hours;
- The typical Australian spends AUD$494.59 (€310.63) every year on coffee.
Just yesterday my girlfriend attended a barista course where the instructor had expressed concern at the fact that he had to teach two Australians. We take coffee VERY seriously. Needless to say, we’re hard to impress.
For the first few weeks in Utrecht, I jumped from café to café trying to find the establishments that cared about coffee as much as I do. I travelled through Eastern Europe before coming to Utrecht. During that period, and until I could trust that a café would serve reliably good coffee, I was limited to black coffees (espresso or Americano). This is because texturing milk is difficult to perfect, and very easy to get wrong.
Over time, however, I have tried and tested a number of cafés that I now frequently visit for my coffee fix. Every time friends or family from Australia come to visit, I give them this list of five places they have to try in Utrecht.
Different friends have different views on which café, BROEI or 30ML Coffee Roasters, takes the top spot for best coffee in Utrecht. I have to give BROEI the award because I can’t get enough of their tasty brew and silky-smooth milk. Most recently, they have worked with Caffenation Amsterdam, Keen Coffee and Blommers Coffee to develop their beans and blends on offer. Their terrace along the canal is perfect for sunny Spring days, and their food menu will entice you to stick around all afternoon. Find BROEI on the south side of Utrecht at Oosterkade 24.
- 30ML Coffee Roasters
30ML Coffee Roasters make it all about the coffee. They roast their own beans and offer a range of blends and single origins. Just this week they announced a new 100% Arabica bean out of Brazil. Their milk is divine, so I would recommend trying the cappuccino. Their breakfast menu is also among the best in Utrecht. 30ML can be found at Vredenburg 23, across the road from TivoliVredenburg in the centre of town. Later this year they hope to open a number of other stores throughout The Netherlands.
- Koffie Leute Brauhaus
It was only a couple of weeks ago that Koffee Leute doubled in size to include the building next door. Clearly, they are doing something right. They boast a specially equipped filter coffee bar stocked with beans sourced through Keppler Koffie. You can try four different blends this month that will take you all over the world, from Costa Rica to Ethiopia. The café feels like a very gezellig living room complete with Mario Kart and vinyl listening stations. You can find Koffie Leute at Westerkade 30 on the south side of Utrecht.
- The Village Coffee & Music
With a store on Voorstraat and another at De Uithof, The Village Coffee is a favourite of students in Utrecht. I don’t think I’ve ever been to The Village without running into another Australian, so you can be sure that the coffee is good. Their coffee is fantastic, and the café is always bustling with conversation. It doesn’t get much better in terms of location, especially if you are spending the day shopping along Voorstraat or through the centre of town. Make sure to pick up a couple of cool stickers while you’re there.
Blackbird is another favourite stop for days spent in the middle of town. Located along the Oudegracht (number 222), it is perfectly positioned between second-hand stores. Its coffee is great, and the milk is always textured perfectly. The quarter of a stroopwaffel they serve alongside your coffee is perfect with a cappuccino. While you’re there, check out their collection of vintage bikes.
- District Brood & Koffie
District is another favourite, especially for long afternoon study sessions that require plenty of coffee. There’s no better motivation than good coffee, huge windows and light space. Their coffee is so good that this month they are hosting barista classes. Because they double as a bakery, you have to try their bread – I think they’ve got the best toastie in town. District is in a perfect spot for students at UCU, located at Jan van Scorelstraat 1 on the east side of town.